How did the name first come about? Studies of place names suggest that “ham” at the end
of the name denotes ‘a village or group of houses’, and ‘ing’ denotes ‘the people of’. It is
thought that these endings date from early Saxon period. Gislingham thus translates as, ‘the
village of the people of Gysela’.
So, who were Gysela and his people? It is thought that Vikings in the late 9 th century landed
on the Suffolk coast and sailed up the River Waveney settling between Carlton Colville and
Kessingland at what is now Gisleham. I.e. ‘the village of Gysela’. Some time later members
of the group sailed down the River Waveney and up the River Dove to this site.